How To Play Slots: A Beginners Guide

Beginners Guide to online slots

Whether you're totally new and want to play online slots at a casino or you're just looking to get a quick refresher on how slots machine work on casinos to sharpen up a strategy, our comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know.

Slots History

Online slots have become very popular with many a casino player over years, with some saying the rise in online gambling opportunities has really driven the numbers higher. However, we all know that online slots gaming really began within the typical casino halls of Las Vegas, where slots were luxuriated by movie culture to gain its acceptance within a gambling routine.

The very first video slot machines actually date back to the early ’90s, by the major software developers of today such as Microgaming, Playtech and IGT. Yet, something numerous casino punters do not know is that slot gambling was around from as early as the year 1891 with the famous 3 reel liberty bell! 

Of course with a much simpler contraption, it is still the first origins of the casino slot mania that we would find today that has exploded into all forms of crazy slots with amazing features – including progressive jackpots and even virtual reality slots

Slot Terminology

Of course, to a casino newcomer – the world of slots and the terminology may seem daunting and quite intimidating. There is this idea, that there are lots of terms that one should know and understand if they want to be able to play well. That is not really the case. If you are one to practice, you will realise that the terms and their meanings will begin to stick naturally and you should adapt with the newfound information across each game title.

By reading what we have put down below, you should come to understand each term for itself and where you actually will find that it applies within your gaming sessions.

Bet Max – The maximum bet allowed within the slots game for all possible paylines. This can be activated from one click, so be mindful of it as once the bet is selected and goes through, there is no going back!

Free Spins – This is given to you through the bonus feature options and will award you a free round of playing when you play within the game. You will not need to pay for it, free spins are automatically be awarded to you once you activate that option within the game.

Multipliers – Another bonus feature option, these symbols will enhance your winning combination by however many times the game states. You can find symbols with multipliers that increase your winning combination with the likes of 3x, 4x, 5x etc.

Paylines – Paylines are the winning combination possibilities within the game and across the reels. Video slots at casinos usually have a great number of paylines – around 20/25 paylines, yet there is the option of more depending on the game. Some games for example can have as much as 1049 ways to win!

RTP – RTP represents the return to player percentage associated with each game. It is theoretical and can also be mentioned as the payback percentage. Slot players will often look at this value on casinos and online slot games to decipher whether a game will pay easily or not. If a game is measured at a percentage greater than 95% it is considered above average and relatively high paying over a period of time played.

Scatter Symbols – Scatter symbols work alongside your reels as bonus features such as free spins bonus games, to trigger other bonus features by mixing up your reels and paylines. This is great for when your reels are looking rather dry and uneventful.

Wild Symbols – Wild symbols will replace other symbols in your reel to encourage winning combinations to occur. These are highly valued when they appear on a reel as they can really boost your winning potential!

Jackpot – The jackpot simply refers to the maximum you can win on the software. You can find different styles of jackpot – from a progressive jackpot to a local or even multiple! They are often triggered via some form of a bonus game

How Slot Machines Work: How to Play Slots

Slots are one of the easiest games to when it comes to online gambling – they're an even easier casino game to play online than they are in land-based casinos. To get started, all you'll need to do is insert a certain number of virtual coins that translate into whatever amount of money you want to stake into the slot machine, hit the button marked spin to spin the reels and watch the random number generator get to work. You then just have to sit back and wait to see where the reels land.

After you've spun the reels, a number of things could happen: you'll either win a monetary amount which will be credited to your playing account, lose the bet or hit a bonus round such as free spins bonus games or match bonus games depending on the types of slots you're playing Yes, it's really that easy!

Playing to win

For most players, the whole point of playing on slots is to win some money – and hopefully a lot of money if you're playing on progressive slots machines. An important fact about that is the fact that all online slots are totally random and unpredictable. The Random Number Generator (RNG) aspect built into the software of all slot games determines what the result of the reels will be, so when you put your coins in and make a stake, you never actually know what the result will be. 

Unlike popular live casino games or table games such as Blackjack or Poker, you can't implement strategies to up your chances of winning or of determining your luck when it comes to the outcome. But, this is part of the fun with casino slots – you never know what you're going to get!

Numerous slots players have their own specific ways of playing their favourite slots games, and some even have their own little rituals for playing. If you have your own little ritual that makes you feel lucky – keep doing it!

Here are some of our tips and types of playing strategy from the team at Casimple for playing to win your favourite slot machines: 

Play on slots with high RTP

Before you make any choices in regards to what slot machines to play on, you'll want to take a closer look at that slot games payout percentage. You can usually find this on any good review of the slot machine game (we've got plenty here on Casimple) or on the software developers website, and sometimes on the casino itself next to the game. 

You want to be playing on a slot machine with a payout percentage of 95% or above – this return to player percentage payout will tell you the average amount paid back to players over a prolonged period. So with these higher amounts, you can expect a bigger payout on average. Some of the top online slot machines will have an RTP of between 97%-99%.

Bet maximum coin amount

Whilst this tactic will burn through your betting pot quicker than usual, numerous slot machines have certain bonus rounds and features you can only unlock when betting maximum coins. These bonus rounds can increase the RTP, add new combinations and symbols to the reels and even unlock the chance to win progressive jackpots. These progressive jackpots will give you the chance to win crazy amounts of money – millions of pounds!

How to Choose A Slot Machine

One of the biggest factors, when you play slot machines at online casinos, is the whole process of picking the right slot machine to play on. When choosing which slot you want to play on, make sure to trial the game on free play mode first with free spins from the online casino, to get to grips with the mechanics, paylines and pace of the game. Take your time here and try out different slot machines on different online casinos.

Any good online casino will allow you to try out a slot that you're interested in in a free mode, with free spins and you not having to actually deposit any of your own cash. 

On the whole, though, there's a number of things you want to take into consideration when picking a game to play on:

  • Do you like the feel of the game and the theme?
  • Is the game exciting for you to play?
  • What volatility slots type do you want to play on?
  • Does the games minimum and maximum bet meet your budget and play style?
  • Are bonus rounds & games integrated with which you can expand the reels? (We recommend you pick a slot that has this)
  • How many reels do you want to play? How many paylines?
  • Do you want to play on progressive slots? or a different style?
  • Is there a good amount of smaller payouts you can achieve with your spins?

These are all things you want to take into consideration when choosing a game to play on. When you find a slot game that meets these criteria along with your own, individual requirements, you can take the next step and deposit your own money and play for money.

Top Tips for Slots Beginners

Here are some of the best tips for beginners looking to get started with online slot games:

  1. Keep focused – don't mindlessly play games.
  2. Keep a budget, stick to it and track how much you've wagered.
  3. Look for a nice deposit bonus you can use on that slot
  4. Know when to stop – when you've hit your limit, stop playing.
  5. If you manage to land a big win, take your winnings.
  6. If you hit a double up bonus, remember that you could lose all of your winnings if you lose
  7. Always play for fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have a better chance of winning if I happen to bet higher?

There is talk of this possibility by casino players within the gambling community. Logically it makes sense that if you bet on every possible option, you will find that at least one will come through as a winner, right?

The lower stakes you make, the chances of winning these casino games will be reduced. However, the issue with betting a maximum bet, is the funds that associate with it. It will bleed you dry! This option certainly is not going slowly and gently, is it?

Remember – the result of the spins is always down to the random number generators inside the casino software!

What does the term volatility mean?

Volatility is a way of describing the level of risk in comparison with the level of pay/attitude of the slot machine. High volatility will carry more risk as its real money payouts will be of a lesser frequency, however, the quantity will be larger. Low volatility is the complete opposite, giving players less of a payout more frequently.

How should I choose the right slot game to play?

Slot games at a casino come in numerous options and quantities. You will first need to consider what kind of theme and genre are you wishing to play. It can be difficult for a beginner to choose which slot to play as they come with different options – video slots, classical slots, 3D slots etc. Once you know of the option you would like, you can filter through on the casino or slots site you are playing at and then decide specifically of what you want.

Other factors you should consider are your budget against the bet limits offered within the game. Some games will offer high ranges, making it an option for every kind of casino player, where others are stricter and not as lenient.


Hi, I'm James

"More than 5 years experience in the online gambling sector and 4 of them working with casinos. I'll share my thoughts relating to what you should be looking for in a casino and whether a site is worth your time and money."

Reviewer since June, 2020